Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN — to the various people who arranged for John Wheeler’s intricate scale models of historic Saranac Lake buildings, lost to time, to be displayed in the window of the former Wholesale Furniture-Sears-Newberry’s store in the heart of downtown Saranac Lake. It’s a wonderful use of both these models and this large central space, which we hope will soon be filled with a commercial tenant.

MOUNTAIN — to people out shopping locally. It looked like a substantial number of people walking around and shopping in downtown Saranac Lake Friday evening. The snowy wonderland and perfect winter temperatures added to the scene, and the Sparkle Village craft show in the town hall and tree lighting at Berkeley Green added to the activities. It was nice to see.

MOUNTAIN — to snow. Sure, it’s tough to shovel, plow and drive in, but it’s fun to play in and beautiful to see and be surrounded by. This has been the winteriest November we can remember, and we’re enjoying it.

MOUNTAIN — to the Tupper Lake Heritage Museum moving into the train station rebuilt by Next Stop Tupper Lake. There are more steps ahead before the museum reaches its full potential, but we’re glad it’s on its way.

VALLEY — to power outages, which lately appear to be longer and more frequent than they should be in central Adirondack hamlets such as Long Lake and Newcomb. People there are angry about it, and they’re taking proper action, calling on their elected leaders — local and state — to echo their demand that NYSEG provide better service.

VALLEY — It would have been nice for one of Saranac Lake’s older and nicer houses, the Kingman-Sageman house on Church Street, to get a new owner. Built in the 1880s and later converted to Tudor-style, it has looked sad and abandoned since Les Hershhorn and Rita Leonard moved back to Hawaii a few years ago. Their mortgage holder finally foreclosed, and the property was supposed to be auctioned Wednesday in Malone, but Hershhorn got his lawyer to stop the auction. He didn’t say much but did say he plans to renovate the house. Meanwhile, the website for Leonard’s former Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Tea Room says it will reopen there in 2019. We hope this couple will forgive our skepticism, but it seems they have had quite a few years to pay off their debts and deal with this historic property across the street from the village’s history museum. Plus, they live in Hawaii. Granted, we don’t know all the details, but we think it would be better to let someone else give it a go.

VALLEY — to moving targets. New York’s Department of State had set Dec. 14 as the cutoff to propose a project to share in a $10 million pot of grant funding awarded to Saranac Lake in August. Now, though, Department of State officials say that date is not a deadline so much as a “milestone,” and that if a “transformational” project were to show up months from now, the village’s Local Planning Committee would still be allowed to consider it. That was news to village officials as well as us. It puts them on the spot to reveal that the ground rules are shifting under them. They have to deal with 60-plus project proponents who each want a slice of this pie. On the upside, however, it’s good that the state seems to allow a fair bit of home rule on how this money is spent.

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